The holiday season of eating with family and friends is upon us. But for those of us that not only care about our waistline but our sightline, let us review some foods that are good for your eyes as well as our bodies. Before we start let’s remember one important premise: If it’s good for your body it’s likely good for your eyes.
So where do we start? With veggies for vitamins of course! Vegetables that are orange in color (think carrots, cantaloupe, peppers, apricots) are a great source of
Vitamin A. Vitamin A is a crucial vitamin needed for healthy functioning of our retina (the back part of the eye that senses light) and even the front part of the eye to help keep it moist (dry eye in the winter can be worse!).
For Vitamin C think citrus fruits like grapefruit, oranges and lemons. Vitamin C is crucial for repairing damage done at the cellular level. It is an antioxidant and may help slow down the progression of age related macular degeneration (ARMD) and cataracts.
Speaking of macular degeneration (ARMD) we have to remember our green leafy vegetables including spinach and kale which are rich in Lutein and Xeathanthine (the primary component of AREDS2 vitamins) which we recommend to patients with certain forms of ARMD.
And last but not least the Omega 3 fatty acids are crucial for improving tear function and dry eye symptoms. While research on this topic is controversial, not only do Omega 3’s have the potential to help your dry eye, but also your cardiovascular health.
So can’t I just take a vitamin supplement or pill instead? Yes and no. For certain conditions such as ARMD and dry eye disease there may be a benefit to taking oral supplements. This is a conversation that you need to have with your ophthalmologist as to the benefits vs downsides. But the benefits of eating these foods in their natural form will almost always outweigh the oral supplement version.
Dr. Alexander Voldman DO is a board certified ophthalmologist specializing in cataract, cornea, laser surgery and general ophthalmology.